Article

Dissociation and alexithymia among men with alcoholism

Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences (Impact Factor: 1.62). 02/2008; 62(1):40 - 47. DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1819.2007.01775.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Aim: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the relationship between alexithymia and dissociation among men with alcoholism.Methods: Participants were 176 patients consecutively admitted to the inpatient unit of a addiction treatment center. The Toronto Alexithymia Scale, the Symptom Checklist-Revised, the Dissociative Experiences Scale, the Beck Depression Inventory, the Spielberger State–Trait Anxiety Inventory, and the Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test were administered to all participants.Results: Fifty-three patients were considered as having alexithymia. The alexithymic group had a significantly higher rate of dissociative taxon members (patients with pathological dissociation; 62.3%) according to Bayesian probability. Trait anxiety, overall psychiatric symptom severity, and pathological dissociation predicted alexithymia on covariance analysis. A multivariate analysis of covariance demonstrated that these predictors were related only to difficulty of identifying feelings, whereas trait anxiety was a significant covariant for difficulty of expressing feelings as well.Conclusion: Alexithymic phenomena are interrelated with dissociation and chronic anxiety among men with alcoholism. The relevance of this triad for prevention and treatment of alcoholism deserves interest in further research.

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    • "Others (including their family members) may suffer from affect dysregulation, creating unexpected mood fluctuations and disturbing subjective well-being and/or interpersonal relationships. Some individuals are rather prone to alexithymia, including difficulty in identifying or expressing feelings and leading to frequent somatic complaints or alcoholism (Evren et al, 2008). Some authors have described this composite syndrome as complex PTSD (as a variant of its classic form), which usually has an origin in a traumatic childhood like it might be the case for depressed patients with an underlying chronic dissociative disorder. "
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    • "Alexithymic individuals appear to lack mental representations of emotional states, leading to an inability to self-regulate emotion (Lundh & Simonsson-Sarnecki, 2002; Taylor, 2000). Alexithymia has also been associated with dissociative experiences (Clayton, 2004; Evren et al., 2008); for example both are conceived as ways to manage painful emotions (Tutkun et al., 2004). However, the link between the two is not straightforward. "
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